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BSU’s Kaitlyn Tougas skates with the puck into the Beaver offensive zone while being guarded by Minnesota-Duluth’s Sidney Morin Saturday at the Sanford Center. Tougas scored late in the third period but the Bulldogs beat the Beavers 2-1. BSU Photo Services

WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Bemidji State can't get bounces in 2-1 loss to Minnesota Duluth

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BEMIDJI — Hockey can be a cruel sport. The BSU women’s team found that out the hard way Saturday afternoon.

The Beavers dominated play and played a full 60 minute offensive game against Minnesota-Duluth but couldn’t get a bounce to go their way until it was too late.

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Kaitlyn Tougas scored BSU’s lone goal on an extra-attacker goal with 16 seconds to play but despite out-shooting and, for the most part, out-playing UMD in the offensive zone, lost to the Bulldogs 2-1 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association action at the Sanford Center.

“We had three good periods of hockey,” BSU head coach Steve Sertich said. “Yesterday we only had one. Today I thought we played well. I just wish we would have gotten something out of that game.”

The Bulldogs (13-10-5, 11-8-5 WCHA) completed the sweep after beating the Beavers 5-3 Friday night. In the previous game the Bulldogs overwhelmed BSU, outshooting them 20-5 in the first two periods and eventually winning 5-3 despite a BSU comeback attempt.

Saturday afternoon’s game, played in front of a bigger crowd for National Girls and Women in Sports Day, was a different story.

It was apparent from the first two minutes that the Beavers (9-16-3, 6-14-2) had a better jump than they did Friday, controlling the puck and peppering UMD goalie Kayla Black with six shots in that span.

BSU’s best scoring chance came late in the period when Rachael Kelly wound up for a wicked slapshot that deflected off Black’s blocker. The puck landed in front of Stephanie Anderson, who had an excellent look at an open net, but her shot hit the side of the net and landed harmlessly behind the goal.

“We brought our energy level up today and we played with a lot more spunk than we did yesterday,” BSU center Tess Dusik said. “I think we had more shots in the first period today than we had in the entire first two periods of Friday night’s game.

“We didn’t get many bounces. It’s something we just need to play through.”

In the second period BSU had two great chances on breakaways but neither led to a score.

Alex Citrowske had one chance when she sped past two UMD defenders with the puck but was tripped from behind at the last minute by one of the defenders. No penalty was called and the teams kept playing.

Then, Whitney Wivoda found Dusik streaking up ice and hit her with an outlet pass. She was all along and tried to deke Black but the UMD goalie made a glove save.

The Bulldogs survived BSU’s offensive dominance in the period and took the lead with just more than two minutes to go in the middle frame.

Ashleigh Brykaliuk skated into the slot after getting a feed from Jenna McParland and beat BSU goaltender Brittni Mowat top shelf.

In the third period it was a Bemdiji State penalty that led to the eventual game-winner. Although Saturday’s game had half-as-many penalties (six) as Friday night’s game (11), special teams proved the difference in this low-scoring game.

Kristine Grenier was whistled for a hook and Zoe Hickel sniped a shot from the circle that dinged off a post and into the net.

“Sometimes you get a bounce, sometimes you don’t,” Sertich said. “And our power play’s gotta score. That was a big key to this game. They got one out of three, we got zero.”

Sertich said he thought his team had some good looks on their power play but wasn’t perfect.

‘“They looked a little confused out there at one time,” he said. “UMD had something to do about that, obviously. But for the most part i thought we had some good looks and good chances. Just didn’t score.”

BSU had a late power play chance after a too many players on the ice penalty with five minutes left but only had one shot reach the net.

Sertich pulled Mowat with a minute to go to try and get two goals and Tougas netted one with 16 seconds left. BSU won the ensuing faceoff and had a great look with 5 seconds left but couldn’t get a shot off.

“We had some good looks,” Sertich said. “Any time you get chances its frustrating not to score more than one but we had a ton of good chances as opposed to the first two periods yesterday.”

With the win, UMD secures home ice-advantage for the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The Beavers had a slim chance to host a first-round game but now will focus on taking the fifth-place spot away from Ohio State. The Buckeyes swept St. Cloud State this weekend and overtook BSU in the standings.

“We want to get the fifth spot back,” Dusik said. “We’re only a few points behind Ohio and we have a few weekends left so that should be what we’re focused on doing. I think we can do it was a few good games.”

Minnesota-Duluth 2, Bemidji State 1

UMD 0 1 1 — 2

BSU 0 0 1 — 1

First Period — No Scoring. Penalties — UMD, Crossman (Interference), 8:05.

Second Period — 1, UMD, Brykaliuk (McParland, Stauber), 17:59. Penalties — None.

Third Period — 2,UMD, Hickey (McParland), 11:17, PP; 3, BSU, Tougas (Unassisted), 19:47, EX. Penalties — BSU, Anderson (Tripping), 2:32; UMD, Hickel (Checking), 7:12; BSU, Grenier (Hooking), 9:41; BSU, Ehlert (Interference), 12:14; UMD, Team (Too Many Players), 15:07.

Shots On Goal — UMD, 5-7-10—22; BSU, 8-10-9—27. Goalies (Shots-Saves) — UMD, Black (26-25); BSU, Mowat (22-20). Penalties-Minutes — UMD, 3-6; BSU, 3-6. Power Plays-Opportunities — UMD, 1-for-3; BSU, 0-for-3.

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on Bemidji State but also covering area high schools. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
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